Instrumentation: 2222 223(3: Bass)0 Timp+1 Str)
Duration: ca. 20:00
Year of Completion: 2010
The Concerto for Horn and Orchestra contains three contrasting movements that represent various characteristics of the horn. Dramatic music, lyrical passages, and nobility evoking old hunting horns in the wilderness all appear within this work. The harmonic and melodic styles used in the concerto are an attempt to write modern music for the horn without completely ignoring those things that the instrument has done well for the past several centuries. This work is written for and dedicated to my teacher and friend, Dr. Paul Stevens.
Movement one is dark and dramatic, written in sonata form with three themes. The subordinate third theme opens the work, and it is not until the first entrance of the horn that the main thematic material is presented in full. The horn possesses a unique agility unlike that of the other brass instruments, and this agility is represented in the faster second theme. The soloist's cadenza also appears in this movement, combining the material from all three themes in a virtuosic display that spans the entire range of the instrument. A return to the ominous opening material closes the movement.
Movement two is an emotional elegy with lyrical passages and steadily increasing levels of tension. Three melodic ideas exist in the movement, with the first presented by the orchestra and the second presented at the entrance of the solo horn. While the soloist traditionally gets to play all of the melodic material in a concerto, the third idea appears exclusively in the orchestra near the middle of the movement. A final haunting echo of the first melody appears in the horn before the strings bring the movement to a close.
Movement three is a lively scherzando with flashy and exciting music for both the soloist and the orchestra. Most of the material that serves to transition between sections utilizes perfect fifths in the horn, a characteristic interval that permeates much of the instrumentŐs repertoire. Each section of the work has its own unique meter, organized by removing an eighth note each time the meter changes. The concerto comes to an exhilarating end with a final melodic statement in the horn accompanied by full orchestra.